Like Consumer, Business Media Continues To Struggle

The erratic print media ad recovery continues to post mixed signals with the latest victim being the business press. Following languishing trends for consumer magazines and newspapers, American Business Media Monday revealed that business-to-business ad pages and ad spending slumped again in August. Pages were down 6.3% against August 2002, while spending dropped 3.5%.

Following a small page and spending surge in June - the industry's first appreciable uptick since the beginning of the b-to-b ad decline in November 2000 - pages (9.7%) and spending (7.9%) slid again in July. For the year to date, pages are down 4.1% and spending is off 0.2%.

While the B-to-B ad downturn was anticipated, American Business Media president and chief executive officer Gordon Hughes nonetheless sought to put some positive spin on the balance of 2003, noting , "What we're hearing from our members is that the early fourth-quarter results are not as strong as expected." The group is now estimating 1-3% spending growth for the year.



Business-to-Business Ad Pages, Dollar Trends

August '03 1st 8 Months '03
Ad Pages -6.4% -4.1%
Ad Dollars -3.6% -0.2%

Source: Business Information Network, American Business Media, CMR. Of the 12 ad categories monitored by ABM, only services/direct response/classified and drugs/toiletries showed page gains in August (both were up 2.4% against the year-ago period). While manufacturing/electrical equipment (23.2%) and computers (22.4%) suffered the biggest percentage drops, even the venerable automotive category was down (3.0%).

In terms of spending, four of 12 categories improved in August: automotive (36.7%), services/direct response/classified (7.5%), drugs/toiletries (6.1%) and retail (2.3%). Double losers (pages/spending) included software, manufacturing/electrical equipment, materials/components, finance/business/advertising, travel and telecom.

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